Air International 2020-03
D.Unwin - Eject, Eject, Eject and Escape! /At the Controls/
Dave preparing for a sortie in a Pilatus PC-21. This very sophisticated trainer is fitted with MB Mk16 seats.
Unusually for an RAF aircraft, the Gnat's ejection seat was not supplied by Martin-Baker, but by Saab.
Dave straps into a Gnat. Note the yellow-and-red arming handle behind his head. This system makes it obvious if the seat is 'armed,' because when set to 'safe' the handle sticks into your neck!
While flying a Hawk T1A from RAF Valley, Dave sat on an MB Mk10B. Unlike the Gnat, which required the canopy to be jettisoned prior to ejecting, the Hawk's canopy is taped with MDC (miniature detonation cord). Once the ejection sequence is initiated it shatters the canopy.
Seen here being tested on a special F-35 cockpit section, the Mk16 ejection seat is common to all F-35 variants.